Chosen by Year 8-12 (12-17 year-old) pupils from King Edward VI Aston School, Aston, Birmingham.
Thanks to Rachel Ross, school librarian.
Terry Pratchett, Corgi, 0 552 21642 9, £6.99 pbk
One of the latest in Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series, Thud! follows Commander Vimes through his seventh adventure. The anniversary of the battle of Koom Valley, the conflict in which all dwarf and troll hatred became official, is happening again. Old prejudices are once more flaring up, only this time with new venom. Grag Hamcrusher, a dwarfish elder with radically anti-troll viewpoints, has been found murdered. Beside him lies a bloodstained club – and everyone knows that trolls carry clubs. Commander Samuel Vimes – ‘straight as an arrow but not the sharpest knife in the draw’ – is immediately on the case to discover the true murderer, however he is faced with a new foe, one that cannot be so easily overcome…
Thud! is a book for those who like an action-packed adventure, the mysterious and the mystic, but also enjoy the Pratchett wit and cynicism and are looking for a good read. I personally recommend it for teenagers of both genders.
Ben Allport, Year 11
The Guy Next Door
Meg Cabot, Macmillan, 0 330 41189 6, £6.99 pbk
I was asked to read a romantic novel by my English teacher. Although I would not normally read this type of book, I am glad I did. The book is about a New York columnist called Melissa Fuller, who works for the New York Journal, and how she deals with problems in New York City. It starts with Melissa being 68 minutes late for work because her neighbour has suffered a blow to the head.
I think Meg Cabot has excelled herself because this book is modern romantic fiction perfect for today’s readers. It has many twists and is not clichéd. The whole book is a series of emails, which are funny but realistic. My favourite character was Melissa because I found it easy to understand and empathize with her situation. To start with, I was a little embarrassed reading this book but I thoroughly recommend it to both boys and girls.
Gagan Aggarwal, Year 11
Love That Dog
Sharon Creech, Bloomsbury, 0 7475 5749 7, £4.99 pbk
Easily read from cover to cover in half an hour, Love That Dog is one of those books which will be enjoyed again and again by young and old alike. An eclectic mix of poetry, letters and diary entries, it is hard to say exactly what this book is supposed to be.
It centres on Jack, who, with the help of his teacher, discovers the joy of poetry. He sets out with a very negative attitude, stubbornly insisting that ‘boys don’t write poetry’ but after a little persuasion from Mrs Stretchberry he soon realises that poetry does not have to conform to his preconceived ideas. Along his poetic journey, we also learn of Jack’s dog, Sky, to whom he was clearly devoted. Sky, along with one of the poems Jack reads, forms the inspiration for his poem ‘Love That Dog’.
This is a glorious piece of light relief, perfect for holiday reading.
Gareth Leyshon, Year 12
The Da Vinci Code
Dan Brown, Corgi, 0 552 14951 9, £6.99 pbk
The Da Vinci Code is a compelling thriller, which is about Christ. While some believe it is offensive, I believe it is just a theory, which is very surprising and breathtaking. The story itself is very complex and a difficult read, but nevertheless you can still understand it. It is about Robert Langdon – a top professor at Harvard, and Sophie Neveu – a cryptologist, who are brought together by a mysterious message left by a murdered man in a famous museum. The two main characters are then led to more codes and sequences that then lead to different paintings that they have to work out. At the same time, Robert and Sophie are being chased by the police and other people who want to stop them. They finally overcome these obstacles and discover one of the greatest secrets ever known. The book has also been turned into a blockbuster film.
Baljinder Atwal, Year 8